A Thousand Summers

formerly John Austin Cheley Foundation


We are thrilled to share that A Thousand Summers (ATS), formerly the John Austin Cheley Foundation, chose Clearwater as an Associate Camp in 2016! ATS funds need-based scholarships to extended-stay wilderness camps with a proven record of positively impacting young people. Established in 1989, ATS has funded more than 1,000 campers to attend their ACA accredited partner camps. Clearwater was their first partnership with a girl’s camp as well as their first camp in Wisconsin. We couldn’t be prouder.

What does this mean for Clearwater?

We welcomed three campers that came to us through ATS to Clearwater during the 2017 season. Since then we have had between 5 and 10 ATS campers each summer. These girls, underserved youth of strong potential, are identified by ATS’s national network of volunteer recruiters and highly regarded youth mentoring partnerships, and participate in the special experience that is Clearwater for consecutive summers. ATS believes, as do we, that individual attention, emphasis on community and teamwork, learning skills that encourage new activities, and the ability to explore the world in new ways, will propel these campers to a more promising future.

Clearwater’s own Campership program will continue. We were delighted to be able to provide camperships to 13 individuals for the summer of 2018.

How did this partnership happen?

It was indeed serendipitous that ATS contacted Clearwater not long after we began our strategic planning process in 2015. They had heard good things about Clearwater and wanted to learn more. Clearwater was thinking about ways to expand its outreach, but the task was daunting. Both the extended Clearwater community, as evidenced in replies to a survey eliciting concerns about Clearwater’s future, and the Board of Directors, wanted to ensure that our community was open, welcoming to all, pluralistic in all aspects. We began a dialogue with ATS about vision, mission and values to see if working together would be mutually beneficial.

In April 2016, the Board of Directors approved the new Strategic Plan. The plan includes eight strategic objectives, with one focusing specifically on the composition of our community. It says, “Strive to increase the diversity of the Clearwater community and to embrace pluralism; nurture our common traditions and heritage while encouraging and supporting the celebration of differences; work to build mutually respectful relationships between girls and women of all backgrounds.”

Working with ATS is truly exciting. It is one of many ways in which we live our vision – Our partnership with the A Thousand Summers will open up new opportunities for the Clearwater community to provide the Clearwater experience for as many young women and girls as possible. Learn more about Clearwater’s campership program here.